The Games We Play (Without Even Realizing It)
Friday, July 08, 2011 - 02:16 PM
In The Future of Gaming, which aired on our show last week, Jesse Schell envisioned a world in which governments and corporations would reward you with points for performing certain tasks. In game design circles, this kind of point system is an example of what’s called a game dynamic. Game dynamics can come in many different forms, but basically it’s just a fancy name for any mechanism that makes sure people keep playing the game. (If you’re a video game company, you may even maintain a secret playbook which lists all of the game dynamics you use to keep people clicking.)
But game designer Seth Priebatsch points out that we don’t need to wait for some hypothetical future to see game dynamics put to use in the real world. They’re actually all around us. We just don’t realize they’re there, and, as a result, we aren’t using them very well. What you call happy hour, he calls the appointment dynamic, because you’re rewarded for showing up at a certain time and place. At a TEDx conference last year in Boston, he talked about some other game dynamics that we’ve been taking for granted, and suggested how they might be used for something other than cheap beer.